Cause of Ulcerative Colitis
Although researchers do not yet know why ulcerative colitis occurs, they do have several theories. Among these possible causes are genetic problems, environmental factors, and a problem with the immune system. Researchers have also looked at whether ulcerative colitis may be caused by an infection -- but so far, despite extensive research, they have not found a known bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic cause of the disease.
An Overview of Ulcerative Colitis CausesAt this point, research doctors and scientists are not sure of the cause or causes of ulcerative colitis. They do, however, have several theories about it. Some of these possible causes include:
- Genetic problems
- Certain types of infections
- A problem with the immune system
- The environment.
It is possible that ulcerative colitis is caused by a combination of factors.
GeneticsBecause ulcerative colitis appears to run in families, it's thought that genetics may play a role in who gets the disease. In fact, studies show that about one-fifth of all people with ulcerative colitis have a close relative with some type of inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis is also more common in whites and Jews.
Is Ulcerative Colitis Caused by an Infection?Researchers have looked at whether ulcerative colitis is caused by an infection. This is because the digestive tract inflammation seen in people with ulcerative colitis is also seen with other types of infections that cause acute colitis or acute ileitis. However, despite devoting extensive study to this possible ulcerative colitis cause, researchers have not found a known bacterial, viral, fungal, or parasitic cause of ulcerative colitis.
They do, however, know that ulcerative colitis is not contagious -- so you can't catch it from, or give it to, someone else.